Navarro’s Lab studies microbial trophic interactions in ecosystems ranging from the digestive tracts of insects to the soil rhizosphere.

Our current research focuses on the study of microbial trophic interactions and their feedback to environmental processes in diverse ecosystems, including insects’ digestive tract, soil, and plant rhizosphere.

Our systems of study include:

  • The passalid beetle and its compartmentalized digestive tract. In this insect, we study the microbial compartmentalization of function for lignocellulose degradation.
  • The coffee berry borer and its association with a detoxifying microbiome. Here, we analyze the role of the insect’s microbiome in the degradation of toxic alkaloids such as caffeine.
  • The rhizosphere of different plants and the microbial multitrophic associations that mediate nutrient cycling and C flow.
  • The effect of soil retrogression on soil microbial biodiversity (from bacteria to protists) in the Jughandle Chronosequence located in Mendocino, California.

Besides the group’s scientific work, the team is also committed to reducing the barriers in research for underrepresented students, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals.